This may or may not matter to you but I’m going to say it “I love my computer!” I call her “Compu”. My Compu is incredibly useful and full of information. I can keep information on her and safely – so safe it’s in the cloud. I can talk to her, just as I am now, writing this blog. My Compu makes me look good. I can chat on Facebook, Skype, Twitter, and MSN with friends and family, and in fact anywhere in the world and people will think I’m fantastic. They will even agree with me (ok so it depends on who I write to and what I write). Compu does my shopping for me. I don’t have to walk out the door to buy food, clothing, furniture, or for that matter anything. So great a companion is my Compu that we can sit all day and browse hundreds of online catalogues together and not pay one cent. I can even do my banking!!  My Compu also provides all of my entertainment – movies, music, games: Solitaire (for calming), Angry birds (to deal with my aggressive side), Candy Crush (for control), and for the 90’s gang, Zoombini’s has returned (my need for adventure, community and cuteness is in hand).

Yes, my computer and I have come a long way over the past twenty years and we are even more familiar with one another than we were back then. I can sit with my Compu and enjoy her company all day long, a coffee and keyboard at my fingertips.

Actually, although I do appreciate what my Compu can do, I don’t really love her. Some people however are devoted to their computers and research is showing that the increasing trend of interacting less with people to interacting more frequently with computers, and using mobile phones and apps is having an impact on how people relate to one another.

Whilst computers are incredibly useful for communicating information quickly and efficiently, there is one thing they can never do, no matter how technologically savvy they are. They will never be able to empathise. They will never be able to understand our deep yearnings and feelings. You see, as smart as they are, they are only programmably smart and can only “think” what they are told to. Computers are just tools. They cannot rationalise thought or feel emotion. They cannot sense and discern how situations, things, people, life, impact us. They cannot make sense of or provide meaning to life. They cannot do relationship: they cannot know you, or me as another person can.

Without relationship, real human connection: the gift of giving and receiving, hearing and being heard, touching and being touched, validating and being validated, understanding and being understood, caring for and being cared for, nurturing and being nurtured, sharing and being shared with, in other words, without experiencing and participating in a reciprocating human relationship we will feel alone, isolated and maybe even depressed.

The computer, for all its technological benefits is not a substitute for living life in relationship.

Carl Rogers, the originator of Person Centred Therapy wrote:

“Empathy is a special way of coming to know another and ourself, a kind of attuning and understanding. When empathy is extended, it satisfies our needs and wish for intimacy, it rescues us from our feelings of aloneness.”  

To empathise with another and to be empathised with is essential for our wellbeing. Empathy is a gift that we can extend to another and receive in return. Empathy is experienced when two or more people are intentionally vulnerable with one another.

For more on Empathy click on the Youtube link below:

Brené Brown on Empathy:

Darn Compu, where are my emoticons? Oh, there you are…